Shelby County girls handle Briarwood

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – Briarwood and Shelby County have had two of the more average girls’ basketball teams around the county. Neither has been particularly great, but neither has been terrible this season either.

The two met Friday, Jan. 27, in a Class 5A Area 8 matchup that featured some impressive defense. Thanks in large part to a fourth quarter run, the Wildcats were able to come out on top 47-40 in a defensive closely contested matchup.

Neither team disappointed in the first quarter as they battled back and forth for momentum. Each had three girls score in the quarter, the only difference was that Shelby County hit one more 3-pointer in the first than the Lions, which became a constant throughout the evening as the Wildcats shot a fairly high percentage from beyond the arc.

Shelby County made five first-quarter field goals and had taken a one point, 12-11 lead.

Briarwood completely flipped the script in the second quarter and looked like the better team. Morgan Hutchinson had seven points in the quarter and with the help of three other Lion players scoring, Briarwood went off for 14 points in the quarter, which was the second highest point total in any quarter throughout the game.

The Wildcats were limited to just four made field goals and nine points in the quarter as Briarwood had taken a 25-21 lead into the break.

Coming out of the locker room, it was clear that something had changed for Shelby County. It wasn’t their offense, which still struggled, but their defense that had turned a page. With the offense not able to get a rhythm flowing, the Wildcats played lockdown defense.

They held the Lions to just two made field goals and five points in the third quarter. Shelby County’s offense only put up nine points, but that was enough to tie the game at 30-30 heading to the final quarter thanks to the defensive effort.

Much like the defensive effort in the third, the Wildcats turned up the intensity on the offensive end in the final quarter. Thanks to the efforts of West and Aaliyah Cotton, Shelby County was able to put up 17 points in the quarter. Lilly dropped nine points in the fourth after hitting three field goals and going 3-4 from the free throw line, while Lilly hit two big 3-point baskets.

That 17 points was seven better than Briarwood’s 10, which gave the Wildcats the seven-point win over their area foe.

Shelby County was led by Cotton and West, who both posted 11 points in the contest. Cotton hit three 3-pointers in the game and as a team, the Wildcats drained six deep balls. Sasha Lilly also contributed with nine points in the game.

Morgan Hutchinson led the Lions with 13 points on six made field goals. In all, seven Briarwood players scored in the contest, but only three of those seven had more than five points.